Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Shelfari and Not Library Thing or Google Books

I've been using Shelfari lately to manage my books (Reading, To Read and Read). Some of the other big names in the space are LibraryThing and Google Books' MyLibrary. Shelfari has a few holes, specifically, the pretty interface is really awkward at times. There is no RSS, though there is a blog widget and I'd like a little better control over the categories. But I still like it the best. I wish you could search within your books. I haven't figured that out yet.

LibraryThing is simply butt ugly in comparison but it has better importing than the other two, important if you switch to it from one of the other services. Library thing has RSS which is good, but in the free version you're limited to 200 books. That's bad. I'm well over 600 in just the Read list.

Google Books is a weird little hybrid. The interface is Google clean if unispiring and you can search your books. But the search feature to add new books is tied to Google's book indexing project and if a book isn't in there, you can't add it. Even if you have the ISBN number that specifically identifies a book. Both Shelfari and Library thing use alternate searches like or the Library of Congress to dig up hard to find books. Often you can even find books due to be published in the future if the books is far enough along to have been assigned an ISBN number.

The good thing about all of these services is that exporting and importing is pretty painless. Your books transfer but your ratings and reviews won't. So you'll have to do that all over again. No wonder I'm staying with Shelfari.

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